The Lemonman is having a picnic with some of his friends. It is a bright sunny day and he is looking forward to some fun. But an encounter with a tricky Toad leaves a sour taste in his mouth. While mourning his lost picnic to the Toad, he sees that same Toad in distress. Instead of being angry, he chooses to help him, with the caveat that the Toad is tricky no more.The Toad, true to his word, walks off to start a better and kinder life.
However, that is between children. Perhaps some will accuse me of getting my priorities out of order, but even before teaching my children to be kind comes teaching my children to be safe. The harsh reality of the world is that adults can be cruel, manipulative, and conniving. And they don't always stop hurting children when they say they will.
The fact that the Toad is a "stranger," and an adult, shifts the whole perspective of this book. If an adult is claiming to need help, especially a stranger, and especially one who has already shown themselves to not be trustworthy, the last thing I want my child to do is help them. Get another adult to help - yes. Call 911 - possibly. Stay out of reach of the stranger in question - definitely (Espcially when water is involved. For that matter, a child should never try to save someone from drowning on their own, even another child.)
"The Lemonman: A Picnic, a Toad and Swampwater Road" by Natasha Ferrill was a valiant attempt to teach a very hard lesson. But, stranger danger is real. Children need to learn to keep themselves safe from adults that may try to hurt them. As much as I try to provide a safe and loving world for my children to grow up in, I also am not naive enough to shy away from telling them the dark side of the truth as well. In a caring way, that attempts not to frighten them, but tell them none-the-less.
Children's Book Review Rating: 1 Star - Beware (please see our ratings page to understand this rating.)